Data61 PhD Scholarships

Updated: 3 months ago

Acknowledgement of Country

CSIRO acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land, sea and waters, of the area that we live and work on across Australia. We acknowledge their continuing connection to their culture and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. View our vision towards reconciliation

The Opportunity

Are you looking to kickstart your career in research? We have a range of exciting opportunities available for PhD students who are passionate about AI and digital technologies that have the ability to revolutionise science and help solve Australia’s greatest challenges. 

  • Enhance your PhD studies and kickstart your research career with a PhD studentship at CSIRO’s Data61, the dedicated data and digital arm of Australia’s national science agency.
  • Gain access to world class facilities and tools and quality mentoring.
  • Work with talented research teams on projects aimed at solving digital science challenges through innovative science and technology. 
  • Build your professional skills, apply your knowledge, and deepen your skillset to design and solve complex research problems.
  • Gain real world research experience and feel empowered to change the future!


At CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

CSIRO’s Data61  is home to one of the largest collections of research and development expertise on artificial intelligence (AI) and data science in the world. Data61 is at the forefront of digital science and innovation. You can immerse yourself in an inclusive culture where a diversity of minds and views are welcomed and encouraged.

Data61 PhD students work closely with their Data61 PhD supervisors and research teams on projects aligned to Data61’s research goals. Students are enrolled in a PhD at an Australian university and university supervisors also provide supervision and support throughout the program.

Data61 graduates are equipped with skills and knowledge for a wide range of careers in science, engineering and research and have gone on to roles in tech companies, businesses, universities, research institutes and within CSIRO. All graduates remain connected to CSIRO through access to our alumni community, providing continued support and networking opportunities.

We provide a diverse and inclusive working environment where our people are supported and our teams are empowered to come up with digital and data solutions with impact.  We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. Talk to us about how this role could be flexible for you.

Who we are looking for 

We are looking for candidates keen to apply AI and digital sciences to a range of research domains. We want diverse and creative scholars who are excited about being part of socially impactful research. Project details are available on our Student Programs webpage via the following link - research projects list .

Students should:

  • be able to demonstrate academic and research excellence.
  • have a high level of written and oral communication skills to the Australian university standard.
  • collaborate effectively and proactively as a team member.
  • have demonstrated carrying out research projects individually or in teams.

Students may be based at various locations across Australia. Please see the project list for locations.

CSIRO is an Equal Opportunity employer working hard to recruit world-class talent that represents the diversity across our society.  As part of our commitment to equitable employment outcomes for under-represented groups, preference will be given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and also to women who meet the role requirements.


Applications are only open to:

  • domestic and international students who are currently residing in Australia.
  • international students overseas at the time of application who already hold a visa to study in Australia.

To be eligible you must have:

  • A first-class honours (H1) Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in the relevant research area (completed or near completion);
  • Apply for admission to a PhD program at an Australian university or be a student enrolled in their first 12 months of study in a PhD program at an Australian University;
  • A university supervisor who confirms they are willing and able to supervise you;
  • Not already hold a PhD degree.  

Important note: If you have already commenced your PhD studies, you must be less than 12 months into your PhD on 02 January 2024. 

Successful candidates:  

  • Appointment to this role is subject to provision of a national police check and may be subject to other security/medical/character requirements.
  • International applicants must have the appropriate immigration approvals to allow them to take up the scholarship.
  • Must be residing in Australia in order to commence their PhD and take up the scholarship between 2 January – 30 April 2024.

Please see FAQs  (link) if you have any questions regarding the above eligibility.

The scholarship 

Successful candidates receive a scholarship package including:

  • A full stipend at $42,000 per annum for years 1 and 2, and which increases to $44,000 per annum from year 3, or a top-up scholarship amount of $10,000 per annum. Students who are awarded a base stipend from their university will be considered for top-up scholarships.
  • Benefits of up to $5,000 learning and development funding are available over the term of the scholarship with the use of these funds being at the discretion of CSIRO and the student's university supervisor.
  • Access to national research infrastructure, tools and resources to further enhance your research capability.
  • A maximum scholarship term of 3 years and 6 months years (less any time lapsed in a PhD if you are already enrolled and have commenced studies at the university).

Assessment criteria

Applications will be assessed on: 

  • Academic calibre of the student:  This is critical to the assessment of a scholarship and candidates must have a relevant first-class honours (or equivalent) degree from a recognised university (students near the completion of their honours year will be asked to demonstrate evidence of first-class honours upon receiving final grades before being accepted). 
  • Research potential of the student:  The student must be able to demonstrate research potential to carry out the nominated research project such as previous research projects, Honours or Masters thesis research and industry projects.
  • Evidence of skills and capability required to carry out the advertised project:  The student should demonstrate through their application the required skills and capabilities for successful completion of a PhD.
  • Relevance of the selected university supervisor’s research background and their willingness to supervise the student in collaboration with the CSIRO’s Data61 supervisor should also be made clear by the student, as follow up references and confirmations will be actioned in the selection process.

How to Apply

Applicants may apply to a maximum of two projects (two preferences). For details of the research projects that may be undertaken, please view the research projects list  (link).

Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and projects may close as suitable candidates are accepted. Early applications are encouraged. 

Note: Some projects listed may not proceed depending on availability of suitable applicants.

 Applications require the following documentation:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Academic Transcripts

Information about these documents is outlined below. Candidates may be required to provide at least two referees (preferably academic referees) upon request.

In the online application system, you will be required to submit your application in the following order:

  • In the ‘Resume/CV’ field attach your Cover Letter and Resume/CV as one document.
  • In the ‘Cover Letter’ field attach your Academic Transcripts as a PDF.
  • In the ‘Education’ section select your university from the Educational Institute list.
  • in the ‘Job-Specific Information’ section, select your preferred research project/s in order of preference.  You are not required to provide your Grade Point Average (GPA), please select ‘Not Applicable’.
  • Applications without the required documentation or with documentation submitted in the incorrect application fields will be considered incomplete and will not be assessed. Applications received via email will be deleted.

    What to include

    Cover Letter

    • Indicate which project/s you are applying for any and any relevant skills and experience.
    • Information on research interests.
    • Demonstrate why you feel you should be considered for the project.
    • Any other information that you feel is relevant to your application. 
    • Your cover letter should be no more than 2 pages.

    Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    Your CV provides an overview of your educational and employment history and your skills. You should include:

    • Educational history - List all degrees studied, indicating the name of the degree, university, years studied and GPA if known. If you completed a thesis as part of your degree, provide its title, the mark and list your supervisor/s.
    • Employment history - List your employer, your role, duration of employment, duties and achievements.
    • Awards - List any awards received throughout your tertiary study or employment. Do not provide/attach evidence of awards, for example certificates.


    • Provide a list of publications that have been accepted or published. Do not list publications that are submitted. Do not attach publications/papers to your application. Do not attach your Masters or Honours theses.  

    Academic Transcripts

    • Provide official transcripts for all university studies as pdf documents, including degrees not completed or abandoned.
    • Provide translated documents where transcripts are in a language other than English.
    • Ensure scans are legible.
    • Do not provide transcripts from high school, testamurs/degree certificates or award certificates.

    Apply now to join us and start creating tomorrow today!

    Applications Close

    27 November 2023,11.00pm AEDT
    Applications are highly competitive and may close for projects as suitable candidates are accepted. Early, quality applications are encouraged.

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